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SMC Cross Country: Belles put up strong showing at invitational

Michael Todisco | Monday, September 6, 2010

Saint Mary’s finished in third place this weekend with a score of 26 at the Wabash Hokum Karem, an open invitational. DePauw University finished first in the event with a score of 12, beating out the University of Indianapolis, which took second place with a score of 17.  

Saint Mary’s coach Jackie Bauters was pleased with her team’s finish in an event featuring six competing schools.

“DePauw is currently ranked 10th in the nation and Indianapolis is a Division II school, so it was great to finish near some of their [runners],” Bauters said. “The girls really laid it out there.”

In its 49th year, the Wabash Hokum Karem is a unique competition. Unlike standard cross country races, runners compete in teams of two, alternating between running successive miles with a string of six miles.

Team scoring is determined by the aggregate finishing places of the top three pairs of runners from each team. The team with the lowest score wins the event.

Paired finishes of third, 10th, and 13th led to the composite score of 26.

The twosome of sophomore Julia Kenney and junior Joanne Almond led the way for Saint Mary’s, finishing third overall in the event with a time of 23:27. Seniors Clare McVey and Catie Salyer followed with a 10th-place finish of 24:45. Sophomore Emma Baker and senior Lauren Easton were the final duo that factored into the scoring for the Belles, crossing the line with a time of 24:57, good enough for 13th.

Bauters said she believes that the format at Wabash provided an important learning opportunity for her team.

“I think it’s a great way to assess the fitness of the team and what we have to work with going forward,” she said. “It’s a fun atmosphere and a race that the team really looks forward to.”

The Belles have two weeks before they take on their next opponent, Calvin, on Sept. 18. Bauters said she hopes the team will be able to develop a sense of cohesion as a team before its next event.

“Right now, we’re trying to get a feel for how we will compete as a team,” she said. “We’re excited to get a few more weeks under our belt before heading up to Calvin, which should be a great place to be tested.”